Les flamants (1910)

Rousseau, Henri (1844-1910)

Les flamants (The Flamingoes)
Oil on canvas, 113.8 x 162 cm
Private collection

Painted in 1910, Les Flamants is a rare example of Henri “Le Douanier” Rousseau’s renowned jungle paintings, created during the final year of the artist’s life. While Rousseau had first explored the lush, tropical landscape of the jungle in his 1891 composition Surpris! (Tigre dans une tempête tropicale) (Certigny, no. 63; The National GalleryLondon), it was not until the opening years of the twentieth century that the subject truly came to dominate his work; over the course of the following decade he would complete almost two dozen compositions devoted to these dramatic, mysterious landscapes, filled with exotic plant life, flowers and animals. Among the artist’s most ambitious compositions, both in scale and subject, these extraordinary wild vistas were essential in cementing Rousseau’s artistic legacy through the twentieth century. From Pablo Picasso to Robert Delaunay, André Breton to Max Ernst, Rousseau’s paintings stood as a standard-bearer for generations of young artists and intellectuals, his singular vision and unwavering faith in his own individuality offering inspiration to those intent on boldly breaking away from tradition. (Christie’s)